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Tier 1 (General) Migrants

Introduction

The Tier 1 (General) category of the Points Based System replaced the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme (HSMP) for new applicants in 2008. The original aim of the Tier 1 (General) category was to attract highly-skilled people to work, train or study in the UK.

The scheme was closed to out-of-country applicants on 23rd December 2010. It closed to new applicants within the UK on 5th April 2011. Only extension applications can now be submitted in this category by applicants with existing HSMP, Tier 1 (General), Writer, Composer or Artist, or Self-employed Lawyer status.

 

The criteria

A points-based system of qualification is used to assess applications. Points can be scored in six attributes as outlined below:

Qualification

Previous Earnings

Age

UK Experience

English Language

Maintenance

To make a successful application, the applicant will need to provide evidence that they score either 75 or 80 points in the first four attributes (depending on the date of original application). It is mandatory to score 10 points for English Language and Maintenance.

 

2010 Changes

In 2010, the UK Border Agency made two significant changes to the Tier 1 (General) points criteria. On 5 April 2010, all points scoring attributes were amended to make achieving the necessary score significantly harder. On 19 July 2010 the UK Border Agency increased the threshold point’s requirement for the four main attributes from 75 to 80 points.

 

Date of Application

The date of application for either a Tier 1 General or any other type of visa permission, is either the date of submission of the application (for applications submitted in the UK by post) or the date that the associated application fee was paid (for applications submitted outside the UK or through the UKBA fast-track service). The date of initial application dictates the criteria under which you will continue to extend the visa. It also dictates the criteria for which you will need to score points for an indefinite leave to remain application.

The date of your initial application may not be the same date that your visa permission was granted. For example, you submitted your initial application by post on 15 March 2010 and you visa was granted on 20 May 2010. This would mean that you would continue to extend your visa permission under the rules that were in place before 5 April 2010.

 

Scoring areas

Educational qualifications

Qualification

Points Pre-5 April 2010

Points Post-5 April 2010

Bachelors degree

30*

30

Master’s degree

35

35

PhD

50

45

* Points only available to applicants who submitted their initial application before 31 March 2009.

Points can also be awarded for professional qualifications that are shown to be the equivalent of degrees of PhDs awarded by British institutions.

 

Previous earnings

Points can be claimed for earnings made either within the UK or from overseas. If earnings have been made overseas, applicants should note that the uplift ratio that may have applied to an initial application will not apply to an extension application.

 

Earnings can also be claimed from employment or through self-employment. The evidential requirements for earnings made through either self-employment or ‘self-employment through the applicant’s own limited company structure’ are considerably more complex than compared with those for an employee working for a third party.

 

Points Pre-5 April 2010

Points Post-5 April 2010

Previous earnings

Points

Previous earnings

Points

£16,000-£17,999

5*

Under £25,000

0

£18,000-£19,999

10*

£25,000-£29,999

5

£20,000-£22,999

15

£30,000-£34,999

15

£23,000-£25,999

20

£35,000-£39,999

20

£26,000-£28,999

25

£40,000-£49,999

25

£29,000-£31,999

30

£50,000-£54,999

30

£32,000-£34,999

35

£55,000-£64,999

35

£35,000-£39,999

40

£65,000-£74,999

40

£40,000 or more

45

£75,000-£149,999

45

 

£150,000 or more

80

* Points only available to applicants who submitted their initial application before 31 March 2009.

 

Age

Points are awarded depending upon the applicant’s age specifically at the date of the initial application.

Points Pre-5 April 2010

Points Post-5 April 2010

Criteria

Points

Criteria

Points

Under 28 years of age

20

Under 30 years of age

20

28 or 29 years of age

10

30 to 34 years of age

10

30 or 31 years of age

5

35 to 39 years of age

5

 

UK Experience

For an extension application, applicants can only claim points for UK Experience based on their previous earnings as set out below.

Points Pre-5 April 2010

Points Post-5 April 2010

Criteria

Points

Criteria

Points

If £16,000 or more of the previous earnings for which points are claimed were earned in the UK

20

If £25,000 or more of the previous earnings for which points are claimed were earned in the UK

5

 

English Language

The requirement to demonstrate a minimum standard of English is mandatory. As all applicants will have scored points for this attribute for the initial application, it is accepted that they continue to meet this requirement when extending.

 

Maintenance

On 14 June 2012, the UK Border Agency raised the minimum maintenance requirements. Applicants must be able to demonstrate that they can support themselves and any dependants financially for the entire duration of their stay in the UK without recourse to public funds. In order to show this they must provide evidence of cash funds for a minimum or a 90-day period. The amounts an applicant will need to show are detailed below.

Tier 1 General Migrant Present in the UK for more than 12 months

£900

Dependant where the main applicant has resided in the UK for more than 12 months

£600*

Dependant where the main applicant has resided in the UK for less than 12 months

£1800*

* For each dependant.

 

Settlement

Once an individual has remained in the UK for five years under Tier 1 (General) scheme, they will be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain (or permanent residence, as it also known) in the usual way. Time spent in the UK under any or the following categories can be aggregated towards the five year period: HSMP, Work Permit, Tier 2, Writer, Composer or Artist, Self-employed Lawyer.

Key to an indefinite leave application is the ability to demonstrate that you attain enough points in the earnings and UK experience attributes to score 75 or 80 points under the same criteria as your initial Tier 1 (General) extension.

 For those applying for settlement under the HSMP Judicial Review Policy document, the requirement is that you can demonstrate economic activity at the date of application. The rules applying to HSMP JR applications only apply where the applicant has an HSMP approval letter dated before 7 November 2006.

 For further information on our fees and how we can assist you with a Tier 1 (General) visa application, please contact us on 0207 392 7672 or e-mail us at info@novellslegals.com.